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Democrats urge U.S. Treasury secretary to expedite, expand loan for Puerto Rico

By on March 9, 2018

SAN JUAN  – A bicameral letter signed by 58 Democratic members of Congress was sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, urging him to expedite the Community Disaster Loan process so “Puerto Rico has sufficient funds to offer essential services to its residents.”

The loan amount for Puerto Rico reportedly is $2.06 billion instead of the $4.7 billion appropriated by Congress last year. The Treasury Department, the lawmakers said, has also “sought to impose stringent repayment terms on the loan,” a release issued by Rep. José Serrano’s (D-NY) office reads.
House Appropriations Committee member Serrano leads the letter in which the Democrats request the full loan amount be offered to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico governor to Congress: Treasury is hindering access to disaster loan program

Puerto Rico, they say, has “already been forced to provide” the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) an emergency loan for $300 million to “ensure they can continue delivering already limited electricity services, adding an unnecessary burden on the government and the people of Puerto Rico at a time of deep fiscal distress.”

They add that “onerous loan terms would only further undermine local recovery efforts and capacity to offer basic services.”
“Puerto Rico remains in deep fiscal distress. The Department of the Treasury should—instead of acting like a bank or hedge fund in the quest for profit—offer a helping hand by offering generous terms on the loan in order to incentivize a quick recovery on the island. To this date, more than six months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island almost 20 percent of the people of Puerto Rico have no power.
“More than 300,000 people have left the island and many more will do so unless the federal government does more to provide relief. Fully funding a loan at $4.7 billion will help the Puerto Rican government and its 78 municipalities provide basic services for its residents and prevent a mass exodus. Absent such a request, it seems likely that the Puerto Rican government will simply not have the necessary funds to operate at full capacity,” the members wrote.


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